Eleanor Chavez is a native New Mexican, born in Las Cruces, raised in Santa Fe and has lived in Albuquerque since 1981. She received her B.A. in 1976 and her M.S.W in 1978 from the University of Washington. She worked in the mental health field in Seattle from 1979 to 1981. From 1981 to 1991 she worked for the State of New Mexico as a Child Protective Services Social Worker.
Eleanor has worked for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, New Mexico Federation of Teachers, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and is currently employed by the American Federation of Teachers as an Assistant Director in the Human Rights and Community Engagement Department.
Eleanor is the former State Representative for House District 13 where she served from 2009 to 2012. She is active in her community and currently serves on the board of Casa de Salud, a non-profit health clinic. Eleanor has been a Commissioner on the New Mexico Public Education Commission for the past 14 months serving PEC District 1.
Carolyn Shearman received her higher education degrees from Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor of Business Education in 1972 and a Masters of Business Education in 1975. She has been Professor of Business and Computer Information Systems from 1972-1995 at Eastern NM University-Roswell Campus and the Dean of the Division of Business, Math and Science, 1995-2005 also at the Eastern NM University-Roswell Campus. Carolyn currently serves on the Artesia Board of Education, 1985-Present. During her tenure on the Board, she has held the offices of President, Vice President, and Secretary. Carolyn was elected to the New Mexico Public Education Commission in 2008. She has served three terms as Chair of the Commission and two terms as Vice Chair.
Vince Bergman graduated Roswell High School in 1963 and received his BBA from the University of New Mexico in 1970. He worked at Dun & Bradstreet in Albuquerque from 1968-1974 as the Office Manager and then at Llano Inc., in Hobbs, NM from 1974-1986 as the Gas Measurement Administrator. Vince was the owner of the Classic book Store in Roswell, NM from 1987-1995 and was a self-employed realtor in Roswell from 1995-2000. Retiring in 2000, he was elected to the New Mexico Public Education Commission in 2009 and has served as a Commissioner, the Secretary, Vice-chair, and is now the Chairman of the Commission.
Carmie Lynn Toulouse is a lifelong New Mexico resident, descended on her father's side from French fur trappers and traders who were in and out of the state since the 1700s. She is a graduate of Albuquerque Public Schools, attended UNM, ENMU & Georgetown majoring in Anthropology. Ms. Toulouse worked on ten archaeological projects, published several professional papers on the Navajo, and did work in the field of ethnology. She worked for the NM Human Services Department for 30 years in a number of different counties and the central office in Santa Fe before retiring December 31, 1999. Her work began as an eligibility worker, and she ended her career as a Bureau Chief, working on numerous projects and the development of several computer systems.
Ms. Toulouse was initially elected to the Governing Board of Central New Mexico Community College in February, 1999 and left the Board in March, 2011. Ten of those years she served as the Secretary of the Board. She was active in the Association of Community College Trustees and was elected to their Diversity Committee from the Western Region. Her last five years, she was elected at large as a member of the Executive Board of the Association.
She was elected to complete a vacant term on the Public Education Commission in November, 2012 and elected to a full term in November, 2014 representing much of Albuquerque. I have been especially active in contract negotiations with new and renewed charter schools. She currently serves on the PEC's NM Legislative Education Study Committee and the Legislative Finance Committee.
Ms. Toulouse adopted her son and daughter as newborns early in her working career. She is now a proud grandmother of six grandsons, three of them currently attending charter schools. There are a number of members of my very large extended family & several young relatives who are also New Mexico charter school graduates. She also has a cousin who teaches at a charter school and her daughter, who is not directly an employee of a charter school, works very closely with one in the area of the arts.
Karyl Ann Armbruster is an educator with forty-five years of experience in elementary and middle school environments. In the Golden State from 1970–1992, she taught special education in K–8 classrooms. From 1992–2009, Karyl Ann was ensconced in teaching in the Land of Enchantment at Los Alamos Middle School.
Ms. Armbruster has taught all subjects areas, and she has enjoyed teaching in a wide range of settings. She has educated students in living skills programs and in self-contained and inclusion classrooms.
To stay abreast of the continuous changes in education, Karyl Ann remains involved. Since 2009, she has mentored and tutored many students. She keeps her classroom management skills honed by substitute teaching.
Karyl Ann has served the larger community in a variety of ways. As the president of Los Alamos Federation of School Employees, she represented her fellow teachers from 2002 through 2008. Since her retirement, Ms. Armbruster has found interesting avocations to keep challenged and involved. From 2011–2014, she has been on the boards of the League of Women Voters and the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.
She grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the award winning Shortridge High School where Kurt Vonnegut, Senator Richard Lugar, Congressman Andrew Jacobs , and Eli Lilly also attended. She earned her BA from Miami University in government and history and earned her MA in education psychology and learning disabilities from Long Beach State University.
James Conyers earned his bachelor's degree in history and social sciences from Eastern Illinois University. He earned an MS in education from Western Illinois University. Always interested in enhancing his knowledge and skills, James returned to Eastern Illinois to complete a Specialist in Education in counseling and guidance and administration.
James is a New Mexico board professional mental health counselor and holds four New Mexico educational licenses as a Pre-K–12 lifetime school counselor, Pre-K–12 rehabilitation counselor, lifetime 7–12 secondary teacher, and K–12 administrator.
In 1967, James began his career in service with a two-year stint as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Gambia, West Africa. After a year as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, he traveled next to Farmington, NM and taught four years at the Navajo Methodist Mission School. He landed in Bloomfield where he counseled, then lead—as principal—Mesa Alta Junior High School students for 19 years until 1993. During those years, James reached out beyond Mesa Alta's classrooms, counseled Bloomfield high school students, and signed on as adjunct faculty in the social sciences and stress management at San Juan College. He persisted with his high school counseling at the home of the Bobcat until 2004 and continues at San Juan College today. James moved on to the Dzilth-na-o-dith-hle Community Grant School where he was involved with numerous aspects of counseling and testing. He was moved upstairs to principal and direct the school from 2011–2013.
James has provided community service beyond the doors of his schools. Since 2007, he has served as vice-president, then president of the Bloomfield Board of Education. He is a former board member and chairman of the San Juan County Partnership. Since 2011, Mr. Conyers has presided over Region I, School Board Association and the Bloomfield Kiwanis Club.
A life-long resident of New Mexico, Gilbert Peralta grew up in Socorro. Graduating from Socorro High School in 1976, he enrolled at New Mexico State University. Here he earned an associate's degree in criminal justice and his bachelor's degree in political science in 1981. Always eager for more knowledge, Gilbert returned to school at Grand Canyon University and, in 2006, he earned his master's degree in education administration. Currently, Gilbert is in his 31st year as an educator, serving as principal at Zimmerly and Midway Elementary Schools.
Along with his teaching and administrative responsibilities, Mr. Peralta stays connected with his students as their coach. Gilbert has guided his high school athletes in developing the skills, stamina, and attitude needed to excel at basketball, baseball, and the subtleties of sailing a small white ball down a fairway and into a 4.25-inch cup. Highlights from those 20 years include the 1998 season in which he guided the Class AAA Warrior basketball team to their first-ever state championship; appropriately, he was proclaimed Coach of the Year by the Albuquerque Journal. 2001 and 2002 were banner years for the Lady Warrior golf team; Peralta brought them back-to-back state championship runner-up finishes.
Currently, Gilbert lives in Socorro with Donna, his wife of 20 years. Together they are raising learned, athletic, twin 10-year-old daughters, Alex and Andri.
Commissioner Jeff Carr lives in Eagle Nest, NM and has been teaching history for 25 years. He has a BA and MA in history from Louisiana Tech University, a BA in social studies education, and 45 hours of additional graduate work in education administration. He holds New Mexico certifications in social studies, language arts, performing arts, coaching and administration.
Prior to his teaching career, Commissioner Carr worked as a stock broker, commercial insurance agent, and nuclear weapons specialist in the USAF, and a combat heavy engineer platoon leader in the US Army National Guard as a Captain.
He has been a Municipal Judge and Mayor Pro Tem in Eagle Nest, ran for State Senate in 2008, and has served in the PEC since 2009. Mr. Carr is a Red Cross volunteer, guitarist, singer, and hiker. His wife is a teacher and his daughter graduated from NMSU and is currently a lobbyist to the State Legislature for the American Federation of Teachers.
He says, "I am active in politics for the primary purpose of improving the state of our public schools for the benefit of our children."
Commissioner Patricia Gipson spent 29 years in the Garden State of New Jersey (NJ) as an educator, teaching primarily AP United States history, sociology and economics. During her tenure she also served as a staff development trainer for her school district, a peer education coordinator and served on numerous curriculum development committees.
She was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant which was a multi-year project to develop curriculum with other educators in NJ to incorporate cooperative learning techniques into the classroom. Incorporating civic responsibility was always a priority. She says, "I was fortunate enough to help write and implement an elective course for high school seniors which culminated in their researching community problems and completing a community service project related to a solution for one of the issues identified."
Ms. Gipson was the Student Council advisor, and she had the privilege of coaching an outstanding group of scholar athletes during her 10 years as a varsity soccer coach.
In addition to her teaching duties, she served as vice president and grievance chair for an all-inclusive National Education Association (NEA) local. During that time she also co-chaired numerous contract negotiations which afforded her the opportunity to gain extensive training in negotiations and mediation.
Since retiring, she has been involved in many charitable organizations and events in southern New Mexico such as The New Mexico Mission of Mercy, Empty Bowls and Cowboys for Cancer to name a few.
She is actively involved in the Democratic Party Of Doña Ana County, currently serving as the District 52 Director, the VP of the Doña Ana County Federation of Democratic Women and Secretary of the State Federation.